These are challenging times for leaders who believe schools must teach history honestly, be laboratories of democracy, and honor differences while finding common cause. This book, grounded in two decades of work in diverse school settings, provides guidance to help us remain steadfast in the work.
Compelling stories drawn from contemporary school contexts help illuminate each of these questions in fine detail. Each chapter concludes with a list of concrete actions every school leader can take in pursuit of answers. Administrators, teacher leaders, and those who support school reform with justice in mind will find both practical guidance and inspiration.
T. Elijah Hawkes has been an educator for more than two decades in school communities known for their commitments to justice, including ten years as a middle/high school principal in central Vermont, and six years as founding principal of the James Baldwin School in New York City. He has written extensively about adolescence, public schools, and democracy. He is the author of the book, School for the Age of Upheaval: Classrooms that Get Personal, Get Political, and Get to Work (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).
Introduction: It’s Your Job to Imagine the Worst
Chapter 1: Racial Justice
Chapter 2: Democratic Governance
Chapter 3: Restorative Practice
Chapter 4: Student Activism & Organizing
Chapter 5: Counter-Extremism
Conclusion: Pathways to Power
About the Author
Being an effective school leader in our country today is a daunting responsibility. The paradoxes of the principalship are present at every turn. With a masterful weaving of literature, research, philosophy and his own rich experiences, Hawkes plumbs the most compelling of these conundrums to offer school leaders guidance that ties powerful principles to impactful practices. This book is a calm in the storm, with stories and case studies that ground us in the most important educational goals of our time: centering humanity, strengthening community, and deepening our democracy.
With a generous spirit and deep understanding, T Elijah Hawkes has written a confidence-boosting book full of ideas, resources, sample language, advice, and action steps to strengthen your school community. While this moment is unlike any other, this book reminds us that the skills and know-how we need are often already at our fingertips.
Hawkes’s work embodies a vision of open dialogue with steadfast commitment to social justice and democracy. This is a book as compassionate as it is practical. Hawkes offers us pathways to steer our communities away from the polarization of culture wars and social media politics and toward the difficult but rewarding work of building communities where everyone truly belongs.